10 Facts About Stik's Lovers

Lovers (orange) by Stik - MyArtBrokerLovers (orange) © Stik 2011
Celine Thompson

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Stik's Lovers depicts two of his iconic stick figures literally joined at the hip. The intimate work champions love for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, and class.


The series originated from a mural Stik painted in Dalston.

Lovers (orange) by StikLovers (orange) © Stik 2011

Stik first painted his embracing Lovers as a mural in Dalston, which was executed to signal his opposition to the local council's clampdown on a squat in Dalston Lane. This was a cause close to Stik's heart, as the artist recalled: "The squat was a safe house for people from oppressive regimes, for queer and transgender people who were not safe in their home towns or home countries… There was no real service like it within the mainstream infrastructure – this was something that was lacking."


Stik champions love.

Onbu (green) by StikOnbu (green) © Stik 2013

Through his genderless stick figures, Stik champions universal love in his work. Stik shows in his Lovers series that, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or class, everyone deserves love. Similarly, Stik turned his Holding Hands figures into the subject of a Pride banner in 2017, speaking to his promotion of love in its many forms.


Stik's figures are literally joined at the hip.

Lovers (blue) by StikLovers (blue) © Stik 2011

While Stik's iconic figures are usually always composed of six lines, each of his Lovers are only formed of 5 lines. The figures are joined by a singular line at the centre of the composition, literally joining them at the hip and heightening the romantic appeal of the work.


Stik's figures are deliberately anonymous.

The Big Issue (complete ssmplue (et) by StikThe Big Issue (complete set) © Stik 2013

Like all of Stik's figures, his Lovers are sexless, raceless, and classless. Though this is thanks, in part, to Stik's speedy process of painting on the streets, this is also a considered decision to make his imagery as relatable as possible. In their anonymity, Stik's figures represent everybody, everywhere.


Human connection is a guiding force in Stik's oeuvre.

Onbu (pink) by StikOnbu (pink) © Stik 2013

Though Stik frequently depicts his figures solo, many of his works focus on the intimate bond between friends and lovers. Much like his Onbu series, Lovers emphasises the importance of human relationships and connectedness to one another.


The figures (unusually) look in at one another.

Holding Hands (yellow) by StikHolding Hands (yellow) © Stik 2020

Unlike his Onbu and Holding Hands series, the two figures in his Lovers works look inwards towards each other. This unusual representation highlights the romantic connection between the two figures, and their dependence on one another.


The series is about love and vulnerability.

Sleeping Baby (silver) by StikSleeping Baby (silver) © Stik 2015

Stik has always been keen to remind his viewers that vulnerability is not a weakness, but a key element of the human condition. Just as this is expressed in Lovers, his Sleeping Baby series uses the vulnerable baby figure to emphasise the importance of the UK's National Health Service.


Social justice is at the heart of Stik's work.

Holding Hands (blue) by StikHolding Hands (blue) © Stik 2020

From his public-facing murals, which are created with the public's viewership in mind, to his limited runs of prints, Stik always creates artwork with a philanthropic cause in mind. Stik frequently sells his artworks at auction to raise funds and awareness for London-based charities, making artwork in the service of the people.


Stik is a proponent of LGBTQ+ rights.

Pride by Stik (2019). The print features two stick figures holding hands, in front of a pride flag. The text at the base reads "London Pride 2016 - STIK".Pride © Stik 2016

Stik has been surrounded by queer communities throughout his life and artistic career. As he once said in a Big Issue interview, "When I was homeless, I lived with punks, activists, freaks, queers, gays and lesbians. The interesting side of life." Through his street art, he has continued to support the LGBTQ+ community, something epitomised in his Lovers series and his Pride Banner.


The image is universally readable.

Walk (red) by StikWalk (red) © Stik 2012

Like all of Stik's work, the intimate relationship between his Lovers is immediately perceptible. Thanks to their simplified form, composed of just six lines and two dots, the figures have a universality and relatability for all.

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